President delivers guidance on seeking prior approval by LSC of expert evidence in family proceedings

In A Local Authority v DS [2012] EWHC 1442 (Fam), the President of the Family Division, Sir Nicholas Wall, has given guidance concerning the prior authority by the Legal Services Commission in relation to expert evidence.

Full story: Family Law Week

Children from violent homes 'more likely' to hurt others

Children who witness violence in the family home are more likely to carry a weapon or seriously hurt someone else, a charity's study has concluded.

Full story: BBC News

Taxman fails in bid to force tycoon to hand over files used in highest divorce settlement in UK history

The taxman has failed in a legal move to force a tycoon to hand over documents used in a divorce battle which ended in him having to pay the highest award in British legal history.

Full story: The Independent

New Society sections open to non-solicitors

The Law Society has announced that it has set up two new sections with membership open to non-solicitors. The Equality and Diversity Section and the Family Section will both launch on 25 June.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Ofsted seeks to raise standards in foster care with improved inspection regime

Ofsted has published an explanation of how its latest revisions to the inspection of fostering services places are intended to focus even more firmly on the welfare and safety of children and young people.

Full story: Family Law Week

The Social Security and Child Support (Supersession of Appeal Decisions) Regulations 2012

This instrument is made to correct errors in the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement (Transitional and Consequential Provisions) Order 2008.

Statutory Instrument

MPs debate family courts

Alan Beith, Liberal Democrat MP for Berwick-upon-Tweed and Chair of the Justice Select Committee, moved a debate in Westminster Hall on Thursday 24 May on family courts.

Full story: UK Parliament

Family courts: New standards for expert witnesses

Fewer decisions about the care of children will be made on the advice of poorly qualified experts in the family courts under government plans.

Full story: BBC News

Baby P social workers were fairly sacked, tribunal rules

Two of Baby P's social workers have lost an appeal against an employment tribunal ruling that they were fairly sacked.

Full story: The Telegraph

Supreme Court upholds judgment denying contact in Scottish children case

Court makes recommendations about the future conduct of such proceedings.

Full story: Family Law Week

Variations in child care applications revealed

How much the numbers of applications to take children into care vary from region to region in England has been revealed for the first time.

Full story: BBC News

Social workers intervening earlier since Baby P case

Care applications to protect vulnerable children are being made in a more timely way and at an earlier stage since the death of Baby Peter.

Full story: Community Care

Co-op targets family legal aid - with loyalty points

Co-operative Legal Services has a family legal aid contract and is already working on cases, ahead of the launch of its family law service in July, it revealed today.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

‘Relative Strangers’ project analyses wider family issues of donor conceived children

Research team produces short video about parenting agreements between lesbian mothers and known sperm donors.

Full story: Family Law Week

Gay marriage: Conservative MPs to get free vote

Conservative MPs will be allowed a free vote on gay marriage, senior party sources have told the BBC.

Full story: BBC News

Cornwall's 'inadequate' children's services updated

Child protection services in Cornwall have been updated after the service was branded "inadequate" by Ofsted.

Full story: BBC News

Knowledge gap puts social workers at risk of breaking law

Children's social workers lack knowledge of the Mental Capacity Act 2005, meaning they could be breaching the legislation in child protection cases involving parents with learning disabilities, warn experts.

Full story: Community Care

Fostering services need to reach out to wider range of carers

The care system is facing major challenges as the number of looked after children rises and retiring foster carers are not replaced fast enough, Children’s Minister Tim Loughton will warn tonight.

Full story: Department for Education

Munro: Child protection reforms welcomed but pace needs to be accelerated

Professor Eileen Munro, author of the Government’s review of the child protection system, today said a “culture change” was underway in the child protection system but outlined an urgent need to now accelerate reforms to create a more child-centred system.

Full story: Department for Education

Missing children website relaunched

An official website to help find missing and abducted children from the UK has been relaunched by the police's specialist child protection agency.

Full story: The Independent

Ageing foster care workforce is a 'ticking time bomb', warns Loughton

Fostering agencies must strive to recruit younger carers because the bulk of the workforce is approaching retirement, the children’s minister Tim Loughton has warned.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Working Together consultation and Munro progress report due within a fortnight

Community Care reports that the government is planning to publish a "considerably" reduced version of the Working Together document after a consultation which will commence within a fortnight.

Full story: Family Law Week

Government 'failing to tackle family breakdown', Iain Duncan Smith's think thank rules

The Coalition Government is failing to tackle the “tragic breakdown of family life”, breaking pledges to support marriage, Iain Duncan Smith’s think-tank has said.

Full story: The Telegraph

Prime Minister announces trial of free parenting classes for all parents of children under five

Family and Parenting Institute survey shows that more than half of parents want to be able to access high quality parenting classes.

Full story: Family Law Week

Indirect discrimination against men over child tax credit is justified

System directing funds at household where child principally lives deemed most effective.

Full story: Solicitors Journal

Child support charges could increase poverty, warn MPs

Fees to access maintenance collect by replacement to Child Support Agency also penalises women, says committee.

Full story: The Guardian

Committee publishes report on the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission cost reductions

The Commons Public Accounts Committee publishes its 83rd Report of Session 2010-12, Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission: Cost Reductions, as HC 1874.

Full story: UK Parliament

Social workers fear service cuts risk children's lives

Some 88% of social workers think cuts are putting vulnerable children's lives at risk, a survey suggests.

Full story: BBC News

Council fined £70k after social work paper records stolen from home of employee

The London Borough of Barnet has become the latest local authority to be fined for losing sensitive information.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

Kinship carers ‘overlooked’ because of adoption focus

The government’s focus on adoption has been criticised by grandparents and other kinship carers who believe more must be done to support wider family members who have stepped in to keep children out of care.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Office for Judicial Complaints investigates Coleridge J over Marriage Foundation

The Office for Judicial Complaints is investigating the role of leading family judge Mr Justice Coleridge in setting up the Marriage Foundation, an independent charity which aims to reverse the trend of marital breakdown.

Full story: Solicitors Journal

Independent advocates for children in care subject to 'threats and intimidation'

Local authorities are intimidating and threatening independent reviewing officers who raise valid concerns about the treatment of children in care, the association representing the profession has warned.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Watchdog finds errors in child support accounts

Some payments were based on incorrect assessments and some were paid at wrong rate, National Audit Office finds.

Full story: The Guardian

Cafcass records highest ever care demand statistics for April

During April 2012 Cafcass received a total of 748 applications which is the highest ever number recorded by Cafcass for April.

Full story: Family Law Week

Storm as Law Society bans conference debating gay marriage

The Law Society has banned a conference on family issues to be addressed by a senior High Court judge because debating gay marriage breached its “diversity policy”.

Full story: The Telegraph

Adoption scorecards show the serious extent of delays across England

Hundreds of children are forced to wait an average of 20 months from entering care to moving in with their adoptive parents – six months slower than the timetable set out in national guidance, according to official figures published today.

Full story: Department for Education

Adoption: New scorecards attacked by council leaders

Council leaders have criticised new adoption scorecards which are being introduced in England in an effort to speed up the adoption process.

Full story: BBC News

Government legislates to end Ofsted’s annual assessment of Children’s Services

The Government has laid the draft Legislative Reform (Annual Review of Local Authorities) Order before Parliament. If approved by Parliament, the Order will effect the repeal of the legislation requiring annual children's services assessments to be conducted.

Full story: Family Law Week

Ministers to give evidence to Parliamentary inquiry into children missing from care

Following the widely publicised imprisonment of nine men involved in a sexual grooming network which exploited vulnerable teenage girls, the Parliamentary inquiry into children missing from care will hear evidence from two government ministers.

Full story: Family Law Week

Cautious welcome for Children and Families Bill

Legislation heralded in the Queen’s speech to reduce delays in the family justice system needs to be matched with the resources to make it a reality, family lawyers have warned.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Civil court system faces ‘meltdown’

The civil and family court system is facing the prospect of chaos as the government prepares to cut face-to-face counter services.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Parents reunited with baby after court rules fractures were caused by rickets

Couple are second in two weeks to have child returned from care after court ruling that injuries were not caused by abuse.

Full story: The Guardian

Queen's speech: families bill promises flexibility and justice for parents

Government proposes more flexible leave and shakeup of justice system to introduce father-friendly access arrangements.

Full story: The Guardian

Children and Families Bill to give families support when they need it most

The Government will overhaul the special educational needs system and reduce delays in the family justice and adoption systems, under new legislation announced in today’s Queen’s Speech.

Full story: Department for Education

New Children and Families Bill announced in Queen’s Speech

Adoption, care proceedings and shared parenting changes to be introduced.

Full story: Family Law Week

Husband tells court his wife must be mad to want to divorce him

A rejected husband attempted to stop his wife divorcing him by telling a court that she must be mad to want to leave him.

Full story: The Telegraph

New foster care placement needed every 22 minutes

A child goes into care and needs a foster family every 22 minutes across the UK, analysis by the Fostering Network has revealed.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Riverview barristers offer fixed-price divorces to wealthy

An innovative legal practice today launched a barrister-led fixed-price divorce service to cut costs for wealthy couples.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Gay couples to win legal right to marry before next election

Gay couples will be guaranteed the legal right to marry before the next general election, a Liberal Democrat minister has said.

Full story: The Telegraph

Conservative backbenchers urge the government to defer legislation on same-sex marriage

Doubts as to whether ‘gay marriage’ will be included in the Queen’s Speech.

Full story: Family Law Week

Fostering system on the brink as number of children in care soars

Charities warn of impending crisis after new research shows a dramatic rise in vulnerable youngsters needing placements.

Full story: The Independent

Court of Appeal decides firm is entitled to its costs following suspension of its retainer

Court finds that firm’s refusal to work until outstanding fees were paid amounted to suspension, and not termination, of its retainer.

Full story: Family Law Week

Court of Protection in first ruling on living will

The Court of Protection has ruled as valid an advance decision withdrawing life sustaining treatment under the Mental Capacity Act 2005.

Full story: Solicitors Journal

Legal Aid Bill receives Royal Assent

Changes will be implemented from 1 April 2013.

Full story: Family Law Week

Criminalisation alone will not stop forced marriage, says Demos

A new publication by the think-tank Demos argues that the ending of forced marriage requires an holistic approach, involving community engagement and focusing on prevention rather than prosecution.

Full story: Family Law Week